What is NicoDerm&Reg;?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 December 2019
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NicoDerm® or NicoDerm CQ® is a stop-smoking aid that helps some tobacco users because it gradually reduces nicotine levels in the body. This is different than cold turkey methods where smokers quit and then deal with the difficulties associated with nicotine withdrawal. Like other nicotine replacement methods, Nicoderm® provides continued access to nicotine, without smoking, which allows the quitter to taper off the chemical slowly. the nicotine is absorbed through skin patches that people wear for 16-24 hours daily, supplying a steady stream of the chemical to the body.

Many countries offer over the counter access to NicoDerm®, but it may still be a good idea to consult a doctor before trying this method of quitting smoking. Sometimes it is combined with other methods such as using prescription drugs like Chantix®, to increase likelihood of success. There are some drug interactions with the medicine, so it’s good to rule these out before trying it.


People tend to begin NicoDerm® programs by using 21-milligram doses daily, though very light smokers might begin with 14 mg. A patch is affixed to a relatively hairless part of the body like the upper arm, upper outside thigh or rear end. The adhesive keeps the patch well in place, even through activities like bathing or swimming. It is important to remember to change the patches every 24 hours, and to not smoke when patches are worn or for several hours afterwards. Over a number of weeks, as recommended by package directions, people gradually lower dose strengths, ideally ending addiction to nicotine.

Directions for using NicoDerm® make the process sound easy, but quitting tobacco use isn’t that simple, and using the patch doesn’t have a high rate of success. Manufacturers of this nicotine replacement product certainly recognize that it takes more than nicotine replacement to quit, and that replacing nicotine doesn’t address matters like emotional and behavioral addiction. At best, NicoDerm® or other nicotine replacement products can help reduce physical craving for nicotine, but people need additional emotional support to successfully quit, and they also might need to try several times before achieving a complete end to tobacco dependency.

There are also some side effects that people may note with NicoDerm®. Some people develop skin irritation to the adhesive and may need to stop using patches entirely. Others have extremely vivid dreams, which could possibly be avoided by not wearing the patches at night. It may be difficult to tell the difference between side effects of the patch and the physical and emotional effects of ending tobacco use, which include depression, moodiness, insomnia, anxiety, and others.

It is important to note that symptoms like rapid or pounding heart rate, chest pain, water retention in the extremities, and signs of stroke like confusion and inability to use one side of the body are not normal quit smoking signs and need immediate physician assistance. Additionally, some people have allergic reactions to NicoDerm®. Get medical help immediately for symptoms like hives, swelling of face, lips and tongue, and difficulty breathing.



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